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14th February, 2020
Motivation can be a hard thing to keep up.
Life happens, your mind ends up on other things and you lose your groove. Sometimes for weeks at a time. And you can very quickly find yourself, despite the best intentions, putting things on the back burner that should be top of your list of priorities. Productivity slips, deadlines get missed and it makes it all the harder to claw your way back and find your mojo again. We feel it.
It happens to everyone! No need to beat yourself up, you’re good.
But it can be a dangerous trap to fall in, and it’s important to be able to identify and fight it when it happens! Last thing you need after a rough few weeks is to end up with a backlog (and more stress) because you haven’t had your head in your game.
Lucky for you, your dashing young author here is something of a self-taught expert in this area, and he’s got your back! Here are some useful motivation tips and tricks from a serial procrastinator to help you find your rhythm again.
No, I’m not just telling you to focus. I don’t think that would even qualify as advice. If you had the capacity to focus, you wouldn’t be reading blogs about focussing. You’d be busy focussing.
What I’m saying is this – try and pay attention, step by step, to every detail of what you’re doing – and if your mind starts to wander, try and guide it back to the next step.
On a good day, autopilot is your friend. It’s great. I can publish a job spec in my sleep, and log applications with one hand while playing pattycake with the other. Because I’m a professional.
But on a bad day, autopilot is your worst enemy. Don’t let it take over. It leaves your conscious mind to do other things, and that is the opposite of what we want. Motivation requires engagement and involvement for all parts of the mind.
Let every task, however mundane, however routine, become your world – and go through every step deliberately and mindfully.
It’s tough, but it really helps. Let it get rhythmic, meditative.
Everything else melts away and you are a zen, laser focussed productivity machine.
Don’t you do it. There will be a little voice in your head that says “Oh, we just need to scroll Instagram for five minutes to reset our brain.” The voice lies. It is not your friend. Don’t fall for it’s tricks.
If you’re burned out on a task and just need a little time away from it, there are ways of doing that while staying productive. Try writing out your to-do list for the day, with real pen and paper. This will get your eyes off the screen, rest your mind for the job and keep you planned. It does wonders. Write down some thoughts for your next project, or some things you’ve been meaning to discuss. Sketch out some ideas. This is the good kind of procrastination. If your mind naturally wants to just think about other stuff for a while, harness that and trick it into being useful!
Find out what your biggest ones are and learn to handle them. Close buds with your colleagues? Make them your motivation instead of distraction! Challenge each other. Make bets. Make games. Make dares. “Most calls wins! Loser makes the coffee!”
Hard to break the phone checking habit? Get your team in on it! “First phone out of a pocket makes the coffee!”
Vibrating at your desk from too much caffeine? That means it’s working!
This is a big one. Textbook classical conditioning. Reward yourself! Finish a job, eat a thing! It’s literally that simple. Give yourself little targets and incentives. This is the way parents and pet owners nurture good habits and it’ll work just as well on you!
Might want to skip the sugary stuff, though – it’s great in moderation, but last thing you want if you can’t focus is a sugar rush or crash. Try some nuts, some fresh berries or even some trail mix. Jerky and biltong are also great quick fixes of protein, for you carnivores out there.
ASK FOR HELP
Seriously. If you’re having a hard time, loop your manager in. Remember that they’re here for your benefit – they’re not just the big boss in charge; their gig is to keep the team running smoothly, and part of that is lending a hand when people need it.
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. If you’re really struggling, they can help you implement action plans, work diaries, incentives, or even potentially arrange for more flexible hours if the situation calls for it. The absolute worst thing you can do is to struggle silently because it sucks for you and it totally doesn’t need to. You’re not alone! Your friendly neighbourhood manager wants to support you.
What’s more, sometimes getting out of a funk is as easy as being reminded what you’re good at. Genuinely. Book some time to discuss stuff and keep them aware of what’s in your head. They’ll appreciate it.
We’re pretty committed here to making sure all the Full Picture Family are well looked after, even (and especially) on their bad days!
If we had it our way, everyone would be as lucky as us. But we know that sadly, sometimes a slump is a little more than a slump – and a change of scenery is what you need. If that sounds like you, we’d love to help!
Get in touch with us on 01489667033 to get the Full Picture and find out what we can do to get your professional life back on track!